Finding a bike helmet for a baby or toddler is HARD. There just aren’t that many bike helmets that are small enough to fit little ones. Even a trip to the local bike shop is likely to leave you empty-handed.
But not to worry. There ARE bike helmets that are small enough to fit even the smallest riders.
We’ve tested, reviewed, and surveyed our community to find the best helmets for young kids. Here’s a round-up of what we consider the best toddler helmets and the best baby helmets as well as tips on how to choose the best helmet for YOUR child. If you’re looking for a good helmet for your little rider, read on.
Note: For older kids or toddlers with bigger heads, check out our list of the best kids helmets instead.
Table Of Contents How To Choose A Helmet 9 Best Toddler & Baby Helmets Giro Scamp MIPS Woom Helmet Joovy Noodle Kali Chakra Child Bell Sidetrack Nutcase Little Nutty Lazer Lil Gekko Specialized MIO MIPS Bontrager Little Dipper MIPS Comparison Chart Additional Helmet Resources
How To Choose The Best Helmet For Your Baby or Toddler
Don’t just jump into buying a helmet for your little one. Here are some things to consider first.
Little necks are not very strong. Therefore, we think one of the most important things to consider when buying a helmet for your baby or toddler is how much it weighs. The less it weighs the less pressure it is going to put on your child’s head and neck, and the more comfortable the helmet will be on them.
We’ve seen plenty of babies and toddlers refuse to put on a helmet. That’s usually because it is too heavy or doesn’t fit well. In other words, it’s uncomfortable!
Wiggly toddlers are the toughest age to get a helmet on (and off)! That’s why we like helmets that buckle and unbuckle easily.
We also look for buckles that are less likely to pinch your child’s neck skin. I’m sure you have a memory of having your neck pinched in a helmet buckle as a good–lots of tears!
Most helmets are going to come with a traditional-style buckle. That said there are a few helmets on this list that have magnetic or ratchet style buckles. These are less likely to pinch your child’s neck and are also faster and easier to get on and off.
For some kids this might not matter that much, but if you know you have a child that resists helmets or is hard to wrestle down, this is something to consider.
Before you buy a helmet, you should also make sure your baby is actually ready for a helmet! Your child needs to have good neck strength before introducing additional weight to their head.
For most babies, this happens around 12 months old. You can try putting a helmet on your little one at home and watch them play for a while. Are they sitting up straight and playing normally? If there is head is bobbing, it’s still too soon for a helmet.
For more information, read our article on biking with a baby.
We can’t emphasize this one enough: measure your child’s head circumference BEFORE ordering a helmet. Kids are all over the place on head size, and just because one mom said a helmet for her two year old, doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good fit for your two year old.
Look for a helmet where your child’s head circumference is in the lower end of the size range so they have room to grow with the helmet. On the other hand, don’t be tempted to order up a size. If a helmet is too big, it’s not going to be safe.
Adjustability And Fit
A helmet is only as get as it’s fit. If a helmet is wobbly or loose, your child isn’t safe.
We like helmets that are quick and easy to adjust (because kiddos just won’t sit still for that long). The easiest way to get a really good fit is with a rear fit dial.
Even then, not all fit dials are created equally. Look for one that is larger and accessible. If it is too small or tucked up under the back of the helmet, it will be challenging to adjust on a wiggly toddler.
Learn More: How to Fit a Kids Bike Helmet
Smaller bike helmets are notorious for having poor ventilation. Make sure the helmet you’re buying has plenty of vent holes. This is particularly important if your little one is riding their own balance or pedal bike. If they are just sitting in a trailer or bike seat, this is less critical. Which brings us to our next point….
Consider what kind of use your child is going to be using the helmet for most of the time. If they are riding a bike, look for good ventilation.
If they are sitting in a trailer or bike seat, look for a helmet with a flat-ish rear. This will make it more comfortable for your child to lay there head against the back of the seat.
Certifications and MIPS
All bike helmets sold in the U.S. have a CPSC certification, so you can breathe easy that any helmet is going to do a reasonably good job of keeping your child’s head protected.
That said, if you want to be extra sure that your child’s head is protected to the max, you could also look for a helmet with MIPS technology. MIPS provides an extra protective layer that mitigates against rotational force to your child’s head in the event of an impact.
Learn More: MIPS and Kids Helmets
9 Best Baby + Toddler Bike Helmets
|Helmet||What We Love||Price|
|1||Giro Scamp MIPS||MIPS technology, great fit||$52.45 *|
|2||Woom Helmet||Superior coverage, ventilation||$69|
|3||Joovy Noodle||Affordable, easy to adjust||Price not available *|
|4||Kali Chakra Child||Great bang for your buck||$28.50 *|
|5||Bell Sidetrack||MIPS, extended coverage||Price not available *|
|6||Nutcase Little Nutty||Use for bike and scooter||$69|
|7||Lazer Lil Gekko||Integrated rear LED light||Price not available *|
|8||Specialized Mio MIPS||MIPS, magnetic buckle||$60|
|9||Bontrager Little Dipper MIPS||Local bike shop helmet||$44|
*Amazon pricing updated 2023-03-08 at 02:41 – More Info
Giro Scamp w/ MIPS
The Giro Scamp is one of the best toddler bike helmets on the market with MIPS technology.
So what the heck is MIPS? MIPS stands for “Multi-Directional Impact System.” It’s a technology being implemented in more and more top-of-the-line helmets to better protect against “rotational violence.” In other words, it protects against falls where the head hits at an angle. To learn more, read my article on MIPS helmets for kids.
The other great thing about the Scamp is that it fits TINY heads. If you have a 12-month-old or 18 month old, the Giro Scamp probably offers the best fit you can find.
Read Review: Giro Scamp
Head Circumference: 45-49cm (XS)
Price: $64.95 (Last updated: 2023-12-09 at 14:11 – More Info)
The Woom helmet is back! We’ve loved our Woom helmet for years, and are happy that not only is at for pre-order again, it’s also been upgraded to be even better and fit smaller riders.
The extra-small Woom helmet is ideal for toddlers. It provides superior rear of head coverage, offers an insane amount of ventilation, and is easy to adjust.
The helmet also comes in a wide range of colors so whatever your little one’s favorite color is, your sure to find something that suits them. Even better, buy a Woom balance bike to match.
Read Review: Woom helmet
Head Circumference: 46-50 cm (XS)
Kali Chakra Child
The Kali Chakra Child is the helmet that my son wore on a near-daily basis when he was a toddler. If you are looking for an attractive mountain bike style helmet, this should be on your short list. In fact, I think the reason my little boy liked it so much is that it looks cool like Daddy’s mountain bike helmet.
The Chakra’s design offers a visor for sun-protection and back of the head coverage. An adjustable dial makes it easy to fit. With all these features at a very affordable price point, this is a hard helmet to beat.
Read Review: Kali Chakra
Head Circumference: 48-54cm
Price: $28.50 (Last updated: 2023-12-10 at 18:36 – More Info)
Bell Sidetrack Child
The Bell Sidetrack is one of our favorite helmets for both big and little kids. The “child” size is perfect for toddlers and offers all the features of a more grown-up helmet. It comes in both MIPS and non-MIPS versions and offers excellent rear of the head coverage.
Perhaps, most importantly, the helmet looks cool and comes in several bright colors and designs. The only thing we’re not crazy about on the Bell Sidetrack is the cheap buckle. It can be tough to fasten which is especially hard when you have a wiggly toddler on your hands.
Read Review: Bell Sidetrack
Head Circumference: 47-54 cm (child)
Price: Price not available (Last updated: 2023-12-10 at 18:36 – More Info)
The Joovy Noodle a wildly hot-selling helmet and for good reason. It’s affordable, is lightweight, and stays in place on little heads. The front vent holes are also covered in mesh which is nice for kids riding in trailers who might get hit by bugs.
The helmet also comes in a wide array of bright, primary colors so you’re sure to find a good-looking helmet you like–that’s not overly “cutesy.”
Read Our Review: Joovy Noodle
Head Circumference: 47 – 52 cm (Small)
Price: $34.99 (Last updated: 2023-12-10 at 18:36 – More Info)
Nutcase Little Nutty & Baby Nutty
Everybody I know loves Nutcase helmets, primarily because they are cute. Both the Baby Nutty and the Little Nutty come in a wide variety of colorful and fun designs. All the cool kids choose Nutcase helmets.
The other nice part about the Nutcase helmets is that they are good for scootering and roller skating as well as biking so you don’t need more than one helmet. They’ve recently added additional features like MIPS technology, a removable visor, and a magnetic buckle, which has elevated this lid in our minds.
Read Review: Nutcase Little Nutty
Head Circumference: 48cm – 52cm (toddler)
Lazer Lil Gekko MIPS
Like several of the other helmets listed here, the Lazer Lil Gekko offers top-of-the-line safety by incorporating MIPS technology. But the awesomeness of this helmet doesn’t stop there.
There is an integrated, rechargeable LED light at the rear of the helmet. This means your child will be extra visible in low light conditions, like when riding their balance bike near dusk or riding in a bike seat during the morning preschool commute.
The Lil Gekko isn’t just flashy–it’s also super functional. An Autofit® Retention System automatically sizes the helmet to your child’s head–no dial required.
Head Circumference: 46-50cm
Price: Price not available (Last updated: 2023-12-10 at 18:36 – More Info)
Specialized Mio MIPS
The Specialized Mio is a helmet you can actually find at a local bike shop. The shape of the helmet is designed to be used in a trailer (the back is flatter than most) which makes this a great pick if your little one is spending most of their time being towed.
We love the magnetic buckle (no more pinched chins), mesh-covered vent to keep out bugs, and reflective decals. This is a huge step up from Specialized’s previous infant helmet, the Small Fry.
Specialized has also recently updated the helmet to add MIPS technology, which is rad.
Head Circumference: 44-52cm
Bontrager Little Dipper MIPS
The Bontrager Little Dipper MIPS is another bike helmet you can find at local bike shops (Trek dealers specifically). This makes it nice for parents who would like to try it on before buying.
The helmet has MIPS technology and a large, easy to adjust rear dial. Little ones will also appreciate the magnetic buckle (no pinched chins!) and light weight.
The only thing we’re not crazy about is the relative lack of ventilation.
Head Circumference: 44-52cm
Comparison Chart: Toddler and Baby Bike Helmets
Not sure how all these helmets stack up? Here’s a comparison in an easy-to-read chart.
|Helmet||Head Circumference||MIPS?||Magnetic Buckle?|
|Kali Chakra Child||48-54cm||No||No|
|Giro Scamp w/ MIPS||45-49cm||Yes||No|
|Bell Sidetrack||47-54 cm||Yes||No|
|Nutcase Baby Nutty||47-50cm||Yes||Yes|
|Nutcase Little Nutty||48-52cm||Yes||Yes|
|Lazer Lil Gekko||46-50cm||Yes||No|
|Bontrager Little Dipper||44-52cm||Yes||Yes|
Additional Helmet Resources
About The Rascals
The Rascals are a family of three. Kristen (mom), Blair (dad), and Parker (kiddo). We started Rascal Rides when Parker was born and we didn’t want to give up our passion for biking. As we learned, we shared. Over the years, we’ve tested hundreds of kids bikes, helmets, bike trailers, and more.
Kristen is a USA Cycling certified coach and loves to share her passion for biking with other families. Blair is a bike geek, mechanic, and mountain bike junkie. Parker is our resident tester and inspiration.
If you see us out on the trail, make sure to say hi!